What are the Electrical Safety Regulations for rental properties? The Government announced its proposed new regulations for electrical safety in the private rented sector in England. These regulations are due to come into force from 1 July this year for new tenancies. And for existing tenancies, they will come into force on 1 April 2021 for existing tenancies.
The regulations are to be passed by both Houses of Parliament before they are finalised and come into force.
Regular inspection of electrical installations
- Regular inspection of electrical installations – at least every five years – will be mandatory for all properties privately rented in England.
There are some exceptions. For example, lodgers living in shared accommodation with a landlord or their families though the vast majority of private rented properties will come under the new regulations.
A ‘qualified person’ must inspect electrical installations at least every five years, and more often if the most recent safety report requires it.
Also, the new regulations will replace the existing section of the HMO Management Regulations on fixed electrical installations, to ensure consistency across the sector.
Using a ‘qualified person’
- Landlords will be responsible for ensuring they use a ‘qualified person’.
A ‘qualified person’ for the purposes of these regulations is a person competent to undertake the inspection and testing required and any further investigative or remedial work in accordance with the electrical safety standards. Landlords will need to ensure electricians have appropriate qualifications.
Sharing electrical safety reports with tenants
- Landlords will have a duty to share the electrical safety report with existing and prospective tenants
After testing of the electrical installation, the landlord must ensure they receive a written report from the person conducting the inspection. This must include the results and the required date for the next inspection. Also, landlords must supply a copy of this report:
- To each existing tenant living in the property within 28 days of the inspection
- Within seven days to the local authority, if they request a copy
- To a new tenant before the tenant occupies the property
- To any prospective new tenant who requests the report in writing, within 28 days of receiving such a request.
Addressing any issues
- Landlords will need to address any issues with the installation within at least 28 days (or more quickly in case of urgent issues)
If the safety report identifies a fault or potential fault which needs attention, the landlord must request further investigations or repairs. A qualified person must complete the work within 28 days of the inspection, or more quickly if required by the report.
The landlord must ensure they receive written confirmation about the work taking place. The report needs to state that either the electrical safety standards are met, or further work is required.
The landlord must give confirmation to each existing tenant within 28 days from the date of the work. Also, the landlord must provide the original report identifying further work is required.
The landlord must repeat the process until the electrical installation fully complies with the regulations.
Penalties for non-compliant landlords
- Local authorities can issue penalties of up to £30,000 if landlords do not comply
Local authorities have a duty to enforce the regulations. Where a landlord breaches the regulations, they must issue a remedial notice within 21 days of deciding there are reasonable grounds to act.
Landlords will have 28 days from the date of the notice to take the actions outlined. Alternatively, they can appeal within 21 days.
If the tenants refuse access to the landlord for the works, the landlord will not be considered to have breached this duty. This is because they have not brought legal proceedings to access the property.
Where landlords refuse to undertake the works – or where urgent works are required – the local authority can undertake the works themselves with the tenants’ permission.